NVC Impairments

IDevice Icon Information About Nonverbal Social Skills Deficits
Children who lack social skills, some of whom may have a Nonverbal Learning Disability, have a difficult time interacting with others, communicating in a group and/or beginning a conversation. These children have difficulty conforming to group norms required in school. They have a hard time showing empathy for others, resolving conflicts and showing varying levels of disregard for acceptable school behavior, for example, active listening and paying attention to following directions.

Teachers can help children by becoming aware of the kinds of disabilities related to NVC, and by being proactive and modeling the specific behaviors of defined social skills. This type of modeling can be done in the classroom during a class meeting or open focus groups specifically dedicated to problem solving. As you have seen in the previous pages, modeling can be done with the use of Role Plays, Simulations and/or Games.

You can learn more information about various types of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities from the articles, books and websites provided below.

Promoting Social Skills Among Students With Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
from Teaching Exceptional Children, JAN/FEB 2002
Author: Stephanie Morris
Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 66-70. Copyright 2002 CEC.
Link to Article:

Inability to read emotions may be due to mild Autism - Asperger's Syndrome:

There is an informative article describing Asperger's Syndrome on Wikipedia. See details at the link below:


Nonverbal social skills disorders are associated with ADHD and ADD:

Please check out the article on ADHD (ADD) respectively at the link below:


Research indicates that education and training make a difference when addressing these kinds of problems.

Learn More about Dyssemia

Dyssemia is a term coined by psychologists Marshall Duke and Stephen Nowicki in their 1992 book, Helping The Child Who Doesn't Fit In, to decipher the hidden dimensions of social rejection, and describe difficulties with receptive and/or expressive nonverbal communication. The term comes from the Greek dys (difficulty) and semia (signal). Dyssemia is defined as "difficulty in using nonverbal signs or signals."

Dyssemic Children:

  1. Have difficulty sending and reading nonverbal cues of emotion, space and liking/disliking.
  2. Don't understand how to engage in social interaction.
  3. Are often seen as "weird" or "off-putting" by other kids (and even teachers and adults).

Dyssemia - How Common Is it?

  • About 10% of children and adults have Dyssemia
  • About 7-10% of children and adults are eusemic (have extraordinary ability to read and use nonverbal social skills)
  • The vast majority (80%) of children and adults fall somewhere in between

Most children will benefit from learning effective Nonverbal Communication, and it is particularly true for Dyssemic children.

A psychological test is available to help in the diagnosis and assessment of people with the condition of Dyssemia. The test is known as the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy (DANVA). The test helps to determine a child’s ability to identify facial expressions. In the next section you can read more about the test. There is also a link to the test so you can try it for yourself.

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